Tuesday 6 December 2011

"What Knowledge?" The most important question in KM.

"What knowledge?"

As consultants, one of the greatest Knowledge Management insights we bring to client organisations is this - “You don’t have to manage it all”.

Why is this a great piece of news? We frequently find that when people start thinking about implementing KM, they start thinking about the solution first. They may research technology, they may seek out some excellent processes, they may (if they are smart) think about the roles and accountabilities the company will need, and they may contemplate the use of communities of practice, global task forces, virtual teams, blogs, wikis, and any other of the trendy solutions that are popular in the market place.

This is all great thinking, and if they have done well, they may come up with a holistic solution, of Processes, Accountabilities and Technologies, which provides an excellent framework through which Knowledge will flow around the organisation.

However the piece of thinking that we find often doesn’t happen, is the thinking about “What Knowledge”.

What knowledge needs to be managed?

Exactly what knowledge do we need to flow around the organisation? What’s the high value stuff? What’s the knowledge that will give us a competitive edge? What is the knowledge that will give us “first learner advantage".

Our assertion is that if you focus your effort proactively on the knowledge of highest business value, then your KM efforts will not only be easier, they will deliver far higher benefit.

Focused KM systems add maximum value. By focusing on the 20% of the knowledge that delivers the 80% of the value, it maximises the rate of return on your KM investment. People are busy, time is precious, and so it makes sense to focus your precious time on the highest-value knowledge.

So before you get to far with your KM implementation, ask yourself

"What knowledge do we actually need to manage?"

1 comment:

Jacob K. Bluhm said...

I like your idea about focus. A project I'm working on was getting a of hand when I lost focus on "What Knowledge" I was trying to manage. Now I try to answer What before I attack How.

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